July 25, 2013

Senate Panel Okays 33% SEC Budget Hike, Setting Up House Tussle

House wants to give SEC $303 million less than President Obama requested

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from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • Differences Between State and SEC Regulation of Investment Advisors States may impose licensing or registration requirements on IARs doing business in their jurisdiction, even if the IAR works for an SEC-registered firm.  States may investigate and prosecute fraud by any IAR in their jurisdiction, even if the individual works for an SEC-registered firm.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Thursday a $1.674 billion budget for the Securities and Exchange Commission in fiscal 2014, fulfilling the 33% increase that was requested by the Obama Administration, and awarding the agency with $353 million above the level enacted in fiscal year 2013.

However, the Senate budget differs significantly from the GOP-controlled House proposal that would provide the SEC with $1.4 billion, only $50 million above the Commission's 2013 budget.

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White has been pressing for more funding so that she can add more examiners for RIAs. She told the House appropriations committee in early May that the agency’s $1.67 billion budget request for fiscal 2014 would help it fulfill one of its top priorities: to add 250 examiners for advisors.

Observers believe finding a compromise will be difficult, however, and is unlikely to occur before the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also awarded the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with $315 million in 2014, $110 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level of $205 million. The IRS was given $12.07 billion in 2014, an increase of $276.5 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-Colo., chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, said it was “critical” for the SEC and CFTC to receive the added funding as “the responsibilities of these agencies are growing geometrically.”

The 250 RIA examiners, White said, would increase the proportion of advisors examined each year, the rate of first-time examinations and the examination coverage of investment advisors and newly registered private fund advisors.

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